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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant at Marrickville & District Hardcourt Tennis Club, Marrickville

Garlic prawns at Casa do Benfica, Petersham

Here's one reason to go to a sports club. The food. Sign in, ignore the courts and park yourself at a table for a generous feed and drinks at club prices. You can even rock up in your sweatpants and sneakers. Win.

At Strathfield Sports Club, my favourite way to burn earn the calories is Korean fried chicken. At Marrickville Tennis Club, your digestive system will get a workout courtesy of Portugal. We're talking bacalhau salted cod, grilled seafood and hunks of beef speared on skewers that could double as a sword.

Dining room at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Football memorabilia in the dining room

Pull up in the car park and follow the path towards the sound of thwacking tennis balls. Behind the chairs of huffing and puffing tennis players between games you'll find the club dining hall. The walls are littered with jerseys, photos and memorabilia from Sport Lisboa Benfica, the football/soccer club based in Lisbon after which this house (or casa) is named.

Complimentary bread and olives at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Complimentary bread and olives

We're immediately greeted with a basket of complimentary bread and a bowl of olives. The double-sided laminated menu is more expansive that it first appears. You'll find eleven entrees (from $4 for garlic bread and up to $20 for grilled king prawns) and 26 mains, 12 of which are meat and 14 of which are seafood. These start at $19 for a steak with egg, rice, chips and salad and top out at $60 for the mixed grilled seafood platter that serves two.

Garlic prawns at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Camarão com alho $17
Garlic prawns 

It doesn't take long for our entrees to arrive. Be warned. Portions are massive. Our terracotta dish of sizzling garlic prawns holds about 8 prawns for $17. The prawns are plump and sweet but it's the caramelised garlic oil that's the real winner. Our waiter is quick to replenish our bread basket as we soak up the last sticky remnants of oil.

Vongole clams in lemon and mustard sauce at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Ameijoas $18
Vongole clams in lemon and mustard sauce

The vongole clams are listed as an entree but it's more of a main in portioning size. Some of the clams do have a little grit and sand, but otherwise they're cooked masterfully, tender and succulent in their dousing of tangy lemony sauce.

Bife a Portuguesa steak with round chips and egg at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Bife à Portuguesa $23
Steak, round chips and egg

If protein and carbs are your thing, then Portuguese steak and chips is for you. A massive steak comes with added protein in the form of a fried egg. And forget about the paper-thin discs of finely shaved radish spotted in fancy restaurants these days. The original protein camouflage is the chip, sliced thinly and fried until golden, draped over the steak in a blanket of modesty.

Bacalhau no tachinho fried codfish with tomato sauce and round chips at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Bacalhau no tachinho $25
Fried codfish, tomato sauce and round chips

The promise of round chips is the clincher for our next dish. There are five different ways you can order the bacalhau or salted cod, one of Portugal's most revered dishes. We choose fried over grilled or boiled. The bacalhau no tachinho comes smothered in a saucy mix of onion and tomato, adding a terrific tang to the cod that flakes apart with ease.

The chips are great too, like the original hand-cut potato crisp. That surface area to thickness ratio is ideal for maximum crunch.

Grilled cuttlefish with boiled potatoes and salad at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Chocos grelhados $22
Grilled cuttlefish, boiled potatoes and salad

Grilled cuttlefish is probably my favourite dish of the day, another gargantuan serve for only $22. The cuttlefish is fresh and tender, imparted with a smoky kiss from the grill. A handful of boiled potatoes and a simple garden salad make ideal accompaniments. You could almost picture yourself eating this dish in a little seaside town on the coast of Portugal.

Creme caramel flan at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Pudim de caramelo $6
Creme caramel flan

The display fridge on the counter provides a preview of the day's desserts on offer. We go with the classic creme caramel, a wobbly baked custard drowned in bittersweet caramel sauce.

Molotof meringue dessert with egg and almond lemon custard at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Molotof $6
Meringue with egg and almond lemon custard

And we can't resist the Portuguese favourite, molotof. You could call this a distant cousin of the Aussie pavlova, a pillowy soft ring of meringue that's like the soft innards you find inside the pavlova shell. The meringue is sandwiched with a lemony custard.

Dance floor and dining room at Casa do Benfica, Petersham
Dance floor and the dining room

We exerted ourselves simply by trying to eat what we ordered, but if you're feeling particularly energetic, the weekend band manages to get several folk onto the dance floor.

Good food. Great prices. Huge portions. Game, set, match.

Casa do Benfica, Petersham


Casa Do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant
Marrickville & District Hardcourt Tennis Club
1 Centennial Street, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9569 1966

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 11am-3pm and 6pm-9pm
Sunday 11am-3pm


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10 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/13/2016 12:59:00 am


10 Comments:

  • At 7/13/2016 7:19 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Those garlic prawns sounds lovely and the cuttlefish too! Love grilled cuttlefish.

     
  • At 7/13/2016 8:48 am, Anonymous John - heneedsfood said…

    I love a good visit to the sports club restaurant. I've walked past this one many times and wondered what was behind its doors. Damn good Portuguese food, by the look of it!

     
  • At 7/13/2016 9:30 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    not gonna lie, I would order the codfish solely for the promise of round chips too

     
  • At 7/13/2016 10:17 am, Blogger Petra Becker said…

    Thanks for the reminder, well worth a second visit!

     
  • At 7/15/2016 10:53 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Awwww man! This post is making me nostalgic for my trip to Portugal! I am all about the steak covered in potato chips!

    PS a tennis club looks like much more fun when you don't actually have to play any tennis ;)

     
  • At 7/15/2016 3:21 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    I've heard from a good source (his father is Portuguese) that this place is good. Must visit soon!

     
  • At 7/17/2016 11:44 am, Blogger Maddie Loves Food said…

    I love how authentic restaurants like this can be found in the most unassuming of places. I am intrigued by the molotof, and would definitely go for the grilled cuttlefish too!

     
  • At 7/20/2016 12:26 am, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    All my Portuguese friends come here all the time with their family! Baccahlau with crispy potato chips is the best ^^ love molotof too!

     
  • At 7/23/2016 6:39 pm, Anonymous Berny @ I Only Eat Desserts said…

    You find the best food at the most random places haha. I've never eaten at a sports club before but the food here looks awesome!

     
  • At 12/29/2016 7:01 pm, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    All the food looks wonderful and such great value. Club eating at its finest. The molotof really caught my attention, I've not tried it before and looks sensational.

     

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